cold weather planes

Hi,I'm looking to build a DIY UAV for cold weather. I'm in Canada & it's cool-cold for at least 5 months of the year.Is anyone else building for colder climates???? I'd love to pick your brains on what works.

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  • Yes, we flew a telemaster based platform using a MicroPilot autopilot in -20C weather for a search and rescue exercise 30Km from where we launched. Worked well.

    Greg Lewis
  • T3
    temp control using PWM current is a source of noise, be advised.
    thermos around barometric sensor will make it more likely to cause troubles, it will depend more on windgusts when its own temperature wil vary more from the actual air temperature. pressure sensors are better left equalized with airtemp.
  • Hi
    if you build the fuselage from foam like a thermos can jacket and place all equipment into this insulated space, the waste heat from the equipment should be sufficient to keep it warm enough. At warmer temperatures a sufficiently large ventilation gate should be provided. One could even think about to incorporate a primitive temp. control through a bimetal element.
  • T3
    NiCd bats have wider temprange than NiMh, but come with memory effect and other surprises. Still, they are down to -20C usually.
    LiPos are worse at low temp but as they heat themselves better (being used for propulsion), it is sufficient to insulate them thermally. Just try to not boil them in summettime.
  • When I was learning to fly with Firebird Commanders, in the Autumn weather it could get quite cold. The NiMH batteries I was using would die very quickly in cold weather and you'd only get a few minutes usage out of them compared to the usual 15-20 minutes. Surrounding the battery with cotton wool helped but the battery could get quite warm so perhaps that was not the best idea!
  • 100KM
    Ive heard of people heating LiPos with their own power by wrapping a heating element around it and hooking it to the terminals when it gets to cold for them to work.
  • T3
    The main issue is going to be the servos freezing. I flew in Winnipeg in Nov and we only had one instance were a servo did not function although the planes were kept in a heated shed before flights. Contact Greg Lewis at he should be able to assist as he is up in that neck of the woods and has done some cold weather flying.
  • T3
    It works, I did some 30 landings in the snow and -20..+5C.
    Not funny experience as hands freeze on the controls.
    Basically for snow operations, better use pusher
    You must also get the plane off the car before takeoff for
    longer (15 mins) because of barometric sensor drifts, unless
    you accept some 10m altitude drift after 15min.
  • Look at his page:
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